Thursday, October 23, 2014

Alligator Pungo Pamlico Neuse

Order your Blimp here...
Close reaching out of Elizabeth City
We had a great run south out of Elizabeth City, NC, sailing across Albemarle Sound and down into the Alligator River where we dropped the hook. That was an 0830 to 1730 day, but it was a beautiful sailing day. The next morning, we upped anchor at 0700 and entered the Alligator Pungo River Canal with NW winds. The forecast was for 20-25, but it turned out to be mostly 25-30 with several gusts to 34 knots. The bow wave was coming over the starboard bow and the spray was flying into and over the dodger windshield. Saltwater was running horizontally across the windshield due to the 30 knot winds. Our buddy boat, IP 380 PRIORITY, with Reuben at the helm is amazing, as he is single handing his boat along with us! He is one tough sailor and he is doing a great job. SP Cruiser Catspaw Carey would be very proud of him!

With the winds now on our stern quarter, we rounded into Pungo River and turned south.  rolled out jibs and motor sailed at max speed as we were trying to make a 70 nm day today!

Our 68.9 nm day, 0700 to 1700
With 30 knots on the stern and 1500-2000 on the engine, we were doing 7+ knots all day long. We actually made 68.9 nm in 10 hours, so our average was 6.89 knots of speed! The prize at the end of this long day was the beautiful marina called RIVER DUNES. This is a must stop on your way south as the facilities are spectacular. They provide WiFi, fire pits, clubhouse with coffee and TVs and sofas, pool, showers, pool tables and a laundry. All the essentials for a cruiser, and all for $1.50/foot and two for one days! While here, we all need to clean up our boats, fix various items and enjoy some down time. Job #1 & #2  for Team Island Spirit: Laundry & Windlass repair.

Here are some photos to share the adventure.

The Alligator River Swing Bridge
Crossing Albemarle Sound

IP38 MOONDANCE and IP380 PRIORITY sail Albemarle Sound

IP38 MOONDANCE looking good

Single Handing Reuben IP380 PRIORITY

Tug boats are so coloful

Overhead surveillance by Coast Guard Station Elizabeth City 
Mile Marker 100 from Norfolk, VA

Nina and Bob enjoying the sunset, Alligator River, Deep Point

Our sunset, Alligator River

Alligator River Sunset

Conch Blowing time, oh yea

Another view of the Blimp Factory at Elizabeth City, NC

Sunrise over the Pungo Canal

Looking south on the Alligator Pungo canal

Sharing the canal with a tug and barge!

The winds picked up out of the canal, 30+ knots NW
The spray going horizontal 
Our view through the spray
River Dunes, NC. What a great place to take a break....

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Elizabeth City Sunrise

This sunrise was taken (75 total photos) out the galley porthole of our sailboat using my old Canon Digital EOS 30D and a 18-55,, lense. NOTE: Click the image for a larger 1024 x 768 full screen image. Have a beautiful day!

The roses of Fred Fearing, the Rose Buddies of Elizabeth City

Our Island Packet fleet of 3, and where I shot the sunrise from,
Pressing on today and departing Elizabeth Cith, NC for the Alligator River, where we will have to anchor before the Pung Pungo canal of 22 miles. We can't anchor in the canal, and we can't make it from here to the other end in daylight, so we anchor just before the canal.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Dismal Swamp Photo Essay

Radeen, master of the lock....
and Reuben IP380 Priority work the lock lines...
A photo essay of today, Oct 19, 2014. Deep Creek Lock to Elizabeth City, NC.

This is a beautiful section of the AICW.

I hope my photos show the true beauty.

Looking down the Dismal Swamp Canal

Looking back at our wake

The VA/NC state line in the Dismal Swamp

Buddy Boat Priority rounds a corner

Buddy Boat IP38 MOONDANCE rounds a bend

IP380 PRIORITY, Reuebn in the lock
The Dismal Swamp Canal, a must do on the AICW trip. It is simply too interesting and to beautiful. Now for a lay day in Elizabeth City....ahhhhhhh

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Dismal Not

Norfolk Docks....very commercial....
Norfolk to Elizabeth City via the Dismal Swamp
The Dismal Swamp is not dismal, at least for us to travel by boat. I imagine it was very dismal to dig this canal by hand, but today, it is one of our favorite passages on the east coast. The Chesapeake Bay Great Schooner Race took over both Portsmouth Ferry Basins, so we fueled up and pressed on to the Deep Creek Lock and into the Dismal Swamp Canal. Once in the canal, we decided to take Robert's dock, just out of the lock in the swamp. This dock allowed all three of us, IP380 PRIORITY and IP38 MOONDANCE to tie up and enjoy the later afternoon and evening together, complete with dinner and great conversation aboard MOONDANCE. Tomorrow, we will run the 22 mile canal and exit at the South Mills lock and continue for 19 miles of the Pasquotank River to Elizabeth City, NC. If all goes well, we should arrive Elizabeth City by 5 pm. Otherwise we will simply drop an anchor and spend a night on the river. The weather is perfect, we are so lucky to have mild weather and no storms.

Here are some photos of the Norfolk area;

Sunrise on the Lower Chesapeake Bay

IP38 Moondance under full sail

IP38 MOONDANCE sailing the Lower Bay

Imports, each box is a tractor trailer - 5 high, 20 across, many rows

I always find this crane so interesting

A large ship and tugs passing IP45 SANDERLING at anchor

The Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race

Decision time: Left to VA Cut and Prime Rib, right to Dismal and Elizabeth City

IP380 PRIORITY passing the marsh grasses

IP380 PRIORITY rounds a corner in the river before the Dismal Swamp

Radeen in the Deep Creek Lock

Buddy Boat IP38 MOONDANCE in the lock

7 feet up, we are in the Dismal Canal, thank you ROBERT

The Deep Creek Lock
So, tonight, we will stay here in the Swamp and tomorrow we will run to Elizabeth City. This is a new schedule for us as we were thrown off by the schooners taking the ferry basins. So, no movie theater but we have great friends and a peaceful place to spend the night.